Tuesday, February 16, 2010

almond raspberry mini-cakes

This recipe is very cute for valentine's day!!!

cake ingredients
1 2/3 cups toasted slivered almonds
2 cups sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
12 large egg whites, at room temperature

In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade, combine the almonds with 2/3 cup of the sugar and pulse grind until it is a coarse flour. Transfer the almond flour to a large bowl. Add the all-purpose flour, an additional 2/3 cup of the sugar, and the baking powder, and whisk to combine.

Have ready a fine-meshed strainer. In a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, brown the butter over medium heat. (The butter will melt first, and then the milk solids will settle to the bottom. After a little while, the milk solids will start to turn golden.) When the milk solids have reached a nutty brown color, immediately remove from the heat. Using the fine-meshed strainer, strain the butter into the flour mixture. Stir to combine. Discard the butter solids. Stir in the vanilla.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whip attachment beat the egg whites on medium-high speed until they hold soft peaks. If there is even one speck of yolk in the whites they will not form soft peaks properly because the fats in the yolk will prevent the proteins in the whites from adhering to one another. In a slow steady stream, with the mixer on medium speed, add the remaining 2/3 cup of the sugar. Increase the speed to high. Beat until there are firm – not dry – glossy peaks of meringue.

Using a rubber spatula, briskly fold one-third of the meringue into the batter to lighten it. Add the remaining meringue and gently fold in until just combined.

Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cake pans. Spin the pans or use an offset spatula to level the batter. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a fork inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove to a wire rack to cool in the pans for 20 minutes before turning the layers out onto the rack. Cool completely.

raspberry filling ingredients
4 oz. mascarpone cheese
4 oz. heavy cream
1/8-1/4 cup sugar

1 tablespoon raspberry liquor

In a bowl mix together the cream and sugar until it has a thick whipped consistency. (I only used about 1/8 cup of sugar as I didn't want it to be super sweet. Add the cheese and liquor and mix until all ingredients are combined. It will have a fairly thick consistency.

Now you are ready to assemble your cakes. U
se a serrated knife to trim off any excess cake that has domed or risen up, and make your layers as flat and even as possible. Use a round cookie cutter and begin cutting small circles of cake. Now you are ready to construct the layers. Spread with a spatula a small amount of the raspberry filling and then "sandwich" it with the second cake circle. Finish garnishing by adding another dollop of filling on top and decorate with fresh raspberries. Sprinkle with powdered sugar (at request of my husband). Happy Valentine's Day!!!